Zynga’s NFL Showdown Launches on iOS, Android

NFL Showdown 650
Zynga has announced the launch of NFL Showdown on iOS and Android devices. The game is the first release under the company’s Zynga Sports 365 multi-game brand, and allows users to manage their own NFL team with the ultimate goal of winning the Super Bowl. Via partnerships with the NFL and NFL Players Inc., the game contains real NFL teams and athlete names for an authentic experience.

In NFL Showdown, players begin by choosing the team they’d like to manage. From there, they’re given one million dollars to create the best team possible. Users start with a complete team of players, but can purchase free agents from other players in the live auction house, or can list their own players for sale. Each player has his own stats, and players on the roster can be swapped out for others as gamers see fit. Along the way, players’ contracts will come up for renewal, and users must keep track of player salaries as well.

photo 1Players are also helped out along the way by an “Advisors Checklist,” which contains tasks to complete and rewards players with items (like more money, among others) for actually completing them.

Players are placed in a league, playing one game every day over a season that lasts 21 days. These 32-team leagues see players going head-to-head with real-world opponents. If players make the playoffs of the current league, they’ll advance their overall league level. These games take place at real-world scheduled times, so users are encouraged to come back to the game to watch them take place.

While an overall team rating is important, player confidence also impacts the team’s success, and introduces one of many premium currencies to the game, as users can purchase confidence boosts for their players (these can also be earned for free from friends).

Outside of leagues, users can complete practice events to train their players. These practice events include running drills, scrimmages and weightlifting exercises, and each take time to complete. They also drain some of the players’ energy, which recharges automatically over time, or can be recharged instantly with energy boosts (these too can be purchased in the store).

Users can wait for the practice events to complete automatically, or spend premium currency to finish them instantly. Each individual team player levels up on their own, and earns their own skill points. These points can be auto-assigned, or spent manually in a variety of categories, including grip, fitness, awareness, speed, receiving and more.

photo 2Between games, players can change their overall strategy, deciding how many interceptions to allow before benching their quarterback, for instance. This also includes choosing base offensive and defensive strategies, depending on the strength of a team’s players. That is, the game may suggest a strategy that takes advantage of high-rated wide receivers, if the team has them. If not, players may be encouraged to focus on plays that capitalize on great tight ends, and so on.

“With Zynga Sports 365, we are reimagining what a 21st century sports franchise looks like on mobile. We are developing sports games with the right level of control, community and competition that fit the mobile lifestyle of today’s consumer,” said Mike Taramykin, vice president of Zynga Sports 365, in a company statement.

“At Zynga, we have teams with deep experience developing high-quality sports franchises. With NFL Showdown, we are marrying our social gaming expertise with the NFL and NFL Players Inc.’s world class brands to provide football fans with compelling experiences that fit into their everyday lives and let them engage with the NFL in a way they never have before.”

NFL Showdown is available to download for free on iTunes and Google Play. The game will come to Windows phones and tablets, as well as Facebook, in the future. The game offers cross-platform support via Facebook Connect, allowing users to take their team with them across devices.

Another Zynga Sports 365 game was announced in early August, and will “bring the world of Tiger Woods golf to life for consumers.” The first game in this Tiger Woods partnership is in development for a mobile release in 2015.